Charming Stories: Close to Home

IMG_4237Close to Home by Robin Barker

I have been a huge fan of Robin Barker’s baby and toddler books – the best on the market as far as I’m concerned – so was incredibly curious to read her first foray into fiction.

Stories of life, love & family from the bestselling author of Baby Love.
A distraught father is prevented from comforting his little boy. A baby’s life is put in danger by a well-meaning but offbeat couple. Two mothers fight each other for the love of their son. A couple’s desperation for a child leads to a chain of unpredictable events … 

First Impressions: I flicked through the book and liked how the stories were in chronological order from 1955 to the present based on the setting rather than when they were written. The first short story was enjoyable in an old-fashioned way so I looked forward to seeing how this tone progressed and developed across the decades.

Highlights: My favourite stories in the collection were the two personal memoirs. Not only were they interesting, they flowed really well and were tender and heartfelt, as you would expect. My favourite short stories were three set more recently: First Love, Baby Royal and Mother’s Day most likely because they are about problematic contemporary issues with no obvious solutions.

If I was an editor: The collection works really well as a whole but I would have liked a bit more subtlety in some of the stories. I thought some of the descriptions were too obvious and intended casual references to race were a little artificial. However, I certainly didn’t find this distracting enough to even consider abandoning the collection.

Overall: A mix of 3 and 4 star stories

Close to Home: 4 Stars